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View Full Version : I apologize- but how much do you make as a writer?



Darzian
08-16-2008, 06:42 PM
I am really sorry for asking this. Some people may look upon me as a money-greedy guy but it is not so. I love writing and I spent 9 months, planning my first fantasy novel and I have just started to write it. I love writing.

I have my university studies to balance as well so progress won't be too fast. But I was really interested in knowing how well writers actually get paid. For a semi-successful novel, how much would you expect to earn? It is difficult to find accurate info on this so I'm posting it here. I am aware that most royalty payments are usually 10 % of the book's price.

Please be honest. This would be real eye-opener for me. I can't wait for the day when my novel sits on a bookstore shelf, but I can't help wondering if I'll have any significant financial benefits.

Thank You!!!

SPMiller
08-16-2008, 06:57 PM
I'm not sure advances & royalties for sf/f in particular are different enough from any other genre to justify having this in such a specific forum. Perhaps a port to a better place? :D

(Answer to your question: vast majority keep day jobs and/or supportive spouses.)

J. Weiland
08-16-2008, 07:03 PM
The easy answer would be: The more you sell the more you earn.

Also, of course it depends on the publisher and the content of the contract you've signed with that publisher.

rugcat
08-16-2008, 07:05 PM
Tobias Bucknell (http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2005/10/05/author-advance-survey-version-20/) did a survey some time ago about the average advance for a SF/F novel.

I've heard most authors don't earn out their advance. I've also heard less about half do. I've also heard that it's an artificial stat, with almost no meaning.

Take your choice.

Actual figures about money made from writing are hard to come by.

Doodlebug
08-16-2008, 07:08 PM
Not to be discouraging or anything... :Sun:

I've been writing for twenty years and have published over a dozen stories, yet in all that time have made enough to buy a tank of gas.

I really hope things go better for you, but it never hurts to have a college degree and a good paying job!

Darzian
08-16-2008, 08:45 PM
Not to be discouraging or anything... :Sun:
but it never hurts to have a college degree and a good paying job!

Indeed!

waylander
08-17-2008, 03:02 AM
A reasonably succesful fantasy author spoke to my writing group. This author has had 9 novels published in the UK and US in about 12 years, most of which have been been sold in translation to a good number of other countries. An individual year's income varies depending on whether an advance was received that year however they reckoned that it averaged out to 25k /year (on which they have to pay tax ) naturally

Tom Johnson
08-17-2008, 04:43 AM
That is a tough question to answer. I've got a manuscript sitting on a desk at TOR, which would be a good sell, if it is ever accepted. In the meantime, I'm still receiving royalties on books that have been out for three years, so the final figures are not known. Some Quarters are nice, others are low. Like someone else said earlier, keep your day job (LOL). A friend of mine is a writer-for-hire, and sells nine or ten novels a year to major paperback publishing houses, and still drives a ten year old car and lives no better than any of the rest of us. There is a reason why we write, and I don't think it's for the money! (LOL)

"The Weed of Crime Bears Bitter Fruit!"

Judg
08-17-2008, 04:53 AM
It is very hard to make a living writing. Most writers have day jobs. There are some that do nothing but write for a living, even on this board. But not a lot.

Gillhoughly
08-17-2008, 06:55 AM
This is for romance books--and they tend to be the BIG earners simply because they have more sales.

Show Me the Money. (http://www.brendahiatt.com/id2.html)

Always assume you'll earn the least amount of money as shown on that website. It's less heartbreaking.

My first book sale netted me just over one thousand dollars, and that was in the late 80s. I landed a multi-book contract, but the advance was small compared to three years of queries, rewrites, and time I put in.

Sadly, things have not improved much since then. New writers usually get squat.

I've a long track record with one house, but the last book they bought was for less than half of what they offered on the previous one a few years ago. I was told the industry is in the toilet, and they're tightening things up. My agent--who happens to be excellent at her job--said to take it, I need my name in the stores again.

They will send me one half of the advance in a few weeks.

It will be enough to cover my mortgage and living expenses for about two months.

I will see another chunk of the advance in about 6 months.

It will be enough to cover mortgage and living expenses for ONE month.

I'll see the balance in about 18 months from now when it hits the racks.

It will be enough for (guess what?) for about 1.5 months.

Damn skippy I'm writing as fast as I can to sell something else.

And yes, I totally still have a day job.

Ruv Draba
08-17-2008, 02:50 PM
If writing displaces your income then it's prudent to know what it's worth so you know how much you can afford to do.

I did some sums once, and worked out that even if I sold every short story I ever wrote at pro rates, I'd still be losing thousands of pre-tax Aussie dollars per story, compared to my day job.

It's either a hobby or a labour of love, or you're a fluke, I reckon. :)

From what I've read, staff writers on TV series do quite well, but you're writing to specification there.

veinglory
08-17-2008, 07:56 PM
Or it is adjunct income. I work full time but my $5000 a year from writing is very useful to me.

triceretops
08-17-2008, 08:36 PM
I made about $9,000.00 in one year (my best), but that was from two non-fiction book sales. I hardly do anything like that now.

Tri

Doodlebug
08-17-2008, 10:37 PM
Speaking of day jobs...

I used to dream of being able to write full time. I think a lot of my fantasies came from watching television or movies wherein the writer character sits in her office in her gorgeous house overlooking the mountains (ocean, forest, fill in the blank) and types words without care (that is, when she's not in NYC dining with her agent - publicist, whatever - at the finest restaurants in town).

If I have a bone to pick, it's with writers who portray fictional writers in such a way. On screen, writers are either fabulously successful or suicidally desperate to get published. I've never seen a writer character in a show or a movie who lives like the other 98% of us.

Having said all of that, my point is that you don't have to hate your day job!

I worked for a daily newspaper for seven years (writing fiction during my time off). I loved this job. I eventually quit it to raise my kids, and now I'm teaching part-time at a two-year college (still writing!) and I love this job, too.

Day jobs have a lot of advantages that writing full time doesn't offer (at least I don't think it offers since I've never gotten that far ;)). Having a day job means that I interact with people - something I can't do when writing. It means steady income. It means taking my mind off of my writing, so that I don't obsess about my sales or lack thereof (which I tend to do in the summer months when I'm not working.) Having a day job means that I am introduced to new ideas via my colleagues or students. It keeps me mentally stimulated.

I've gotten to the point where I depend on my day job as much as my writing to help me keep my sanity. If the muses ever bless me enough to make me wealthy from writing, I can't honestly say that I'd still teach, but I know I'd miss it.

The best thing you can do for yourself right now, Darzian, (besides finishing that novel!) is to find a day job that you enjoy. Best of luck!!

veinglory
08-17-2008, 10:41 PM
I love my job too. I could possibly make enough to get by if I write full time, I mean I write maybe a 100 words a day right now. But I really prefer my current career. It allows me to write as much as I want on the topics I want and treat any earnings as bonus.

C.M. Daniels
08-17-2008, 10:41 PM
So far, contributors copies.

Polenth
08-18-2008, 01:00 AM
I've made enough to buy two fish and a snail.

Bo Sullivan
08-18-2008, 01:15 AM
I've probably made enough to buy a couple of pizzas and a bottle of wine. I've been researching and writing history for years and years. I keep my day job and it keeps me sane. It means less time for writing, but I retire in four years anyway. Then I can set my mind to writing full time. In the meantime I use part of my earnings to promote my books.

That said, I started writing because I felt isolated. Writing makes you feel more isolated but there is a reward at the end of it. I write because I love writing and no other reason, although making money out of it would be the icing on the cake.

Tom Johnson
08-18-2008, 04:15 AM
Yes, everything these folks are telling you is straight talk. I would have become upset if someone had said they get $40,000.00 a novel, and write ten books a year (all published). Unless Steven King or one of the big names is on the Board, most of us only dream about that million dollar contract. And writing can be a cruel business. I could tell you about one author who sold four SF novels and one mystery novel to a major publishing house, and then could never sell even a simple short story to a small press magazine. He died at his typewriter, and they found cardboard boxes filled with rejected manuscripts in the trunk of his car. We've got to love this writing game!

"The Weed of Crime Bears Bitter Fruit!"

Gillhoughly
08-18-2008, 08:51 PM
Making enough from writing to quit one's day job is a dream shared by many.

One of my friends managed to do it.

But then she writes 4-5 novels a year, maybe more. She's a solid mid-lister, getting decent advances.

To get to that point she put a ton of effort into her day job, working up the ladder until she was one glass ceiling shy of being a VP.

This gave her the money to buy her dream house and get much of her credit debt paid off.

This week she turned in yet another book, but tomorrow she's going back to her old job. Her replacement had a meltdown and they fired him. She's going to make some real money for the next couple weeks as a contract worker, then walk away to to more writing.

The ONLY way she was able to get to this point was by working her butt off on both jobs. It helps that she's also scary smart and mentally hyperactive.

I agree that the media cliche always seems to present us as a bunch of lazy, eccentric buggers who pace around in a luxury office, groaning while suffering for our art, and evidently getting seven figure advances as a ho-hum matter of course.

I WISH!

Judg
08-18-2008, 09:01 PM
I agree that the media cliche always seems to present us as a bunch of lazy, eccentric buggers who pace around in a luxury office, groaning while suffering for our art, and evidently getting seven figure advances as a ho-hum matter of course.
You mean it's not true?

There go my dreams.

:cry:

:idea:

On the other hand, it is obvious I will be the exception. Right?

Right?

Why is it so quiet in here?

badducky
08-19-2008, 12:20 AM
If you are worried about money, this isn't the career path for you.

Because you will always be wondering about that next check, where it will come from, and how you can increase it, and etc.

You have to be Zen about it to survive as a freelancer, in any position. You keep working, and you keep networking, and you stay Zen about money.

Just focus on the craft. If you start to worry about the money, it can quickly consume you.

Darzian
08-21-2008, 07:07 PM
Actually, guys, I'm currently about to begin my university studies in Malaysia (BSc Biotechnology). I like to write and I just wondered if it would help me manage my fees a bit because we are not quite that well off. I'm already on a 50% scholarship.

Thanks for the replies. I expected as much. What I really want to see is my novel with a pretty cover and title sitting on a shelf in a bookstore. Better still if it becomes available on amazon.com so that I can send the link to all my friends!

Shadow_Ferret
08-21-2008, 07:09 PM
I'm still on the negative side of the balance sheet.

BradyBones
08-23-2008, 02:13 AM
So many dream of being a "rich and famous" author. I admit to fostering the dream as well. The problem is that it often doesn't work out that way.

I think I could settle for having my writing loved by many. That would be a real payoff.

IceCreamEmpress
08-23-2008, 02:42 AM
If you're thinking of something to do as a part-time job that earns money while you're in university, you might think about tutoring younger students or typing documents or transcribing audio (for doctors, law firms, etc.) as a more reliable source of income. Or website design.

Darzian
08-23-2008, 06:36 AM
If you're thinking of something to do as a part-time job that earns money while you're in university, you might think about tutoring younger students or typing documents or transcribing audio (for doctors, law firms, etc.) as a more reliable source of income. Or website design.

I'm not sure I'd have the time because I love to write and I'm not about to stop that. We'll see. Thanks for the advice.

veinglory
08-23-2008, 07:39 AM
Tutoring worked best for me at Uni. Pays well and can be done without leaving campus.

BradyBones
08-23-2008, 10:48 AM
Tutoring worked best for me at Uni. Pays well and can be done without leaving campus.

Hmm, maybe you could tutor the language classes... There are always people who need help in that area, even though it's a subject most of us enjoy. And it could also help you with your writing as well. It's amazing how much you can learn while teaching. It makes you regurgitate information you knew but always took for granted.

Darzian
08-23-2008, 02:22 PM
That may just work out. I already helped a lot of students during the AL (that would be the Year 12/13 equivalent) and several of them said that they understood it better from me than from the teacher, despite the fact that I got the info from the teacher in the first place! I always did it for free though.

I'm free for the next 6 months before college starts (in Malaysia) and several of my friends told me to do some tutoring but I decided not to because some parents may have raised eyebrows over a 19 yr old teaching the children....

Well this may work out at college I guess. Please do note that I am not going to stop my WIP. My current aim is to finish it before college since I will likely have time restrictions afterwards.

rhymegirl
08-23-2008, 06:57 PM
I've always said that writers are not appreciated enough. How much are words worth? Someone can make millions for a hit song, but a single poem might only pay $5.00.

I've been paid $200 for one greeting card idea, yet only $50.00 for a 1000-word article that took much longer (and much more effort) to write.

I think the most I've ever earned in a year for writing was about $4000.00 as a freelance greeting card writer.

willfulone
08-23-2008, 08:33 PM
I'm not sure I'd have the time because I love to write and I'm not about to stop that. We'll see. Thanks for the advice.

I see you are considering the tutoring idea. You may also want to consider tutoring in your field of study if it is different than writing degree. I tutored for 4 1/2 of the 5 years when I got my two degrees. I tutored in Chemistry, Microbiology, Physics, Pharmacology, Anatomy I & II, etc. Now, those courses were required for my degrees and once I took those classes and passed with an A, the school put me on the tutoring lists at my request. Those classes have a very high number of students needing assitance (at least in my area). Therefore, there was more money to be had tutoring those courses than another course type. I did all of it on campus (it was a requirement of my campus to do the tutoring on site). I could piggy-back students and do two or three at the same time and increase my per hour rate. While 9 bucks an hour may not seem a lot (it did to me though), adding two more students (for 3 per session) gave me a base pay of 17.50 per hour (they paid half starting rate for each additional student per session and did not allow over 3 students per session on my campus). That was good money back in 1997-98 in my area (The rate when I left was 9.85 for one student). Teachers keep lists and will send students your way if they know you tutor so that you have a steady stream of work too. Consider the breaks your schedule allows. I had several breaks during my semesters and never went 5 days a week. I tutored during my breaks (sometimes I had 3 hours between two classes on a given day) If I needed extra funds, I would go in on an off day and tutor the whole day. This can be a great supplement to your funds. If you can do it while on campus and during session periods between classes, it should not hamper your writing time. Unless of course, you carry your laptop to school and write whenever you have a break.

Anyway you go - good luck!

Christine

Darzian
09-09-2008, 09:33 AM
Thank you for all the honest replies. Appreciate your help and insight. I hadn't realized the market was THIS competitive.

JoNightshade
09-09-2008, 10:13 AM
For my fiction writing, in the last ten years I think I've made a grand total of... $140? And some contributors copies. If you factor in all of the envelopes, paper, and printer ink I've had to buy to make even those sales - well, I'm definitely behind.

On the other hand, I also make my living writing nonfiction. At the moment I make about $50/hour for as many hours as I want to work. (I could probably get more but I really like the job I have now and don't want to expend the effort looking for something less appetizing.) So if you count that, I'm definitely turning a profit. :)

Troo
09-09-2008, 01:59 PM
I know a journalist who earns about 13K a year as his wage. He's employed full-time by a genre magazine.

I know a freelancer who also earns roughly that much sitting in the comfort of his own home selling articles to that same magazine (and many others).

I earn approximately double that to sit in an office and write technical documentation. So, really, what you can make from writing is dependent on the market and your skills.

If you want to make a living from writing just fiction, it becomes an awful lot harder. Some of the more popular and famous genre authors that I know still maintain day jobs.

HeronW
09-09-2008, 02:13 PM
Anywhere from getting comp copies or 2c a word for us unknowns, to millions if you're Stephen King or JK Rowling--and those 'overnight successes' took over decade or more each.

AuthorGuy
09-09-2008, 02:27 PM
I had to form a small book selling business to even get my books out there, and most of my royalties come from my own purchases.

Darzian
09-11-2008, 12:42 PM
Is there a way to shift this to the General discussion area?

Susan Lanigan
09-11-2008, 04:48 PM
My income from writing fiction over the last five years is about €2,200, mostly from competitions.

The one thing that stops me packing it in is the artist's exemption - allows earning up to €250,000 tax free for an original creative work, including fiction.

ChaosTitan
09-11-2008, 05:39 PM
Is there a way to shift this to the General discussion area?

Sure, I'll send this up to Roundtable. :)

Darzian
09-11-2008, 05:47 PM
Sure, I'll send this up to Roundtable. :)

I knew you'd get there! Thanks a lot!

And thanks to everyone who replies and didn't feel that the question was insulting. I don't usually ask someone's salary but I truly wished to break the myths circulating around that authors are generally so rich etc...

Phaeal
09-11-2008, 08:35 PM
Yeeehaaa! I've had a record-breaking year, earning a total of FIFTY DOLLARS on three short story sales!

Yeah, I have a day job, but luckily it's one that earns me so little I'm used to being poor. So if I ever get an advance, even of $1000.00, I'll be feeling pretty rich.

Kryianna
09-11-2008, 09:38 PM
I know a few published authors that write full time. They each have 4 books out currently, and are under contract for 1-2 more. The only reason they are able to write full time is because they got lucrative option contracts from Hollywood. They would both have to do a day job without the options.

This is one of the (many) reasons it's so important to watch which rights you give away in your publishing contract. If they had given the publisher film rights, they would be out a lot right now.

Madisonwrites
09-12-2008, 05:08 AM
You can't make a living just writing. Period. All my research indicates that it's not possible. Basically what I'm saying is, don't quit your day job. It takes too long to get a novel ready for publication and you only get paid a few thousand dollars for it. Not enough to last you through the next two or three years it takes you to write another novel. Sad, but true.

veinglory
09-12-2008, 05:22 AM
Sure it is possible. JK isn't working at a coffee shop. Common is a different thing, but plenty of people make their wage by writing in some form.

Toothpaste
09-12-2008, 05:37 AM
Um . . . many writers make a living from their writing. Several of whom are on this very board. So to say it will never happen is a bit . . . extreme.

What is important to note is how difficult it is to achieve that. That it is a lot of work, and yes some luck. There are easier ways to get rich than writing, and so that is why it is always recommended that writers truly love the writing first, the money second.

But to make the blanket statement "You can't make a living just writing. Period." is um . . . well just not true.

Matera the Mad
09-12-2008, 05:54 AM
Just don't set out with that expectation. Nothing better for advertising naivete.

And how much do I make writing? None of anyone's g*dd*mn business.

Darzian
09-12-2008, 06:03 AM
So would it be correct to assume that 5% of all novel writers (ie novels only) are able to make a living of it? Best to cling onto all jobs then.:flag:

I think this is why so many people don't consider writing as a proper job. How sad.

Madisonwrites
09-12-2008, 07:07 AM
Guys, I meant novel writing. Sorry I didn't clarify.

willietheshakes
09-12-2008, 07:51 AM
Well, it's difficult and unwise to go year to year, as income can vary significantly depending on contracts, publications, royalties, etc.

Over the last 5 years, though, I've averaged about $40K per annum from my writing -- this is a mix of fiction and freelancing (primarily reviewing). The freelancing forms a fairly strong base, but it's been a good few years fiction-wise.

JamieFord
09-12-2008, 07:56 AM
Check out PublishersMarketplace.com A lot of deals list a "deal range". It'll give you a better idea of what people are getting for their books.

Old Hack
09-12-2008, 11:13 AM
In 2000, the Society of Authors in the UK asked their members for information about their income. The results were pretty depressing: I've blogged about the survey here (http://howpublishingreallyworks.blogspot.com/2008/06/what-writers-earn.html). Here's a snippet of my post:


Although the national average wage was 20,919 when the report was compiled, 61% of the writers polled earned under 10,000. 46% earned under 5,000, of whom 123 said that writing was their main source of income, while 14 had no other source of income at all.


There's been a more recent survey (by the ALCS, I think) but I can't find it right now... give me time.

CheshireCat
09-13-2008, 02:14 AM
You can't make a living just writing. Period. All my research indicates that it's not possible. Basically what I'm saying is, don't quit your day job. It takes too long to get a novel ready for publication and you only get paid a few thousand dollars for it. Not enough to last you through the next two or three years it takes you to write another novel. Sad, but true.

Absolutes are certain only in science. And frequently not certain then. Plenty of writers make a living at it.


Um . . . many writers make a living from their writing. Several of whom are on this very board. So to say it will never happen is a bit . . . extreme.

What is important to note is how difficult it is to achieve that. That it is a lot of work, and yes some luck. There are easier ways to get rich than writing, and so that is why it is always recommended that writers truly love the writing first, the money second.

But to make the blanket statement "You can't make a living just writing. Period." is um . . . well just not true.

What Toothpaste said.


Guys, I meant novel writing. Sorry I didn't clarify.

Still not true.

I started a long time ago. I had a day job while I wrote my first book. (Commercial genre fiction.) It sold for a bit over two grand. I kept the day job through the next three or four books, then quit to write full-time.

I've made a living at it ever since. It wasn't a great living in the early years, but I kept a roof over my head and food on the table.

Gradually, things got better. I had to write a lot, because the pay per book wasn't that great and improved only slowly. But I was working to build a body of work, on the assumption that my career growth was steady and growing, knowing that I would see more actual money on those books somewhere down the line -- assuming I became as successful as I wanted to be.

The advance on my most recent novel, still commercial genre fiction, was seven figures.

There were more than twenty years of hard work and a lot of novels between that first two grand and the current seven-figure advances. There was also, eventually, national bestsellerdom (NYT, USA Today, etc.).

It's been a long, difficult, challenging career. Lots of ups and downs. The ups were euphoric. The downs were crushing. There were times I had to borrow money or hock something to pay the electric bill while waiting for advance or D&A money from a publisher that undoubtedly paid its editors promptly on time but took weeks or even months to pay its bottom-rung or midlist authors.

Would I do it again?

Bet your ass I would.

But I might have kept the day job another year or two, and I most certainly would have been wiser with the money I did earn.

And I believe writers should talk about money more often, because there are a lot of misconceptions out there.

rljude
09-13-2008, 03:46 AM
CeCe

May I ask the names of some of your novels?

Congratulations on your diligent road to success.

Rosa

CheshireCat
09-13-2008, 04:07 AM
CeCe

May I ask the names of some of your novels?

Congratulations on your diligent road to success.

Rosa

Sorry, Rosa, but I'm anonymous here. I discovered (a few forums in the past) that I prefer it this way. Not looking for new readers, just looking to talk about writing and publishing with my peers.

And thanks. Sometimes I look back, or at the books on my shelf, and I can't believe I've been in this business for so many years.

God, I'm old.

Donkey
09-13-2008, 04:13 AM
Sorry, Rosa, but I'm anonymous here. I discovered (a few forums in the past) that I prefer it this way.


I see that you're from the Southeast. Bob?

:D

Madisonwrites
09-13-2008, 06:10 AM
I had always heard that you couldn't make a living writing nothing but novels. Huh. You learn something new everyday! Maybe that means there's hope for me, 'cause I'm happiest when I'm writing my novels. But I guess I need to get published first! :D

Fillanzea
09-13-2008, 06:36 AM
Well, Stephen King and John Grisham and James Patterson certainly seem to make a pretty good living writing nothing but novels!

(Another data point, without any actual data: I'm a lot closer to making a living from novels than I ever thought I'd be. But I actually like my job, and I'm all about the health benefits and 401k plans, so I'll be here a little bit longer.)

CheshireCat
09-13-2008, 10:53 PM
I see that you're from the Southeast. Bob?

:D


You can call me Bob if you want. :D

Though CeCe or Cheshire is fine.

CheshireCat
09-13-2008, 11:02 PM
(Another data point, without any actual data: I'm a lot closer to making a living from novels than I ever thought I'd be. But I actually like my job, and I'm all about the health benefits and 401k plans, so I'll be here a little bit longer.)


Wise of you. That's one of the things too many writers don't take into consideration when they contemplate the possibility of making a living at this.

There's no safety net of company bennies or retirement plans; you have to take care of all that yourself. And as any self-employed person will tell you, finding decent insurance alone is a huge problem.

So when you sit down to plan a budget, you have to remember the costs that only come out to bite you when you're self-employed.

And you really, really, really have to factor in plenty of waiting-for-my-check time, because many if not most publishers are amazingly slow to pay even after work is in-house and approved.

If you're lucky enough to stay at the same publisher for a time, you'll get a better sense of how promptly (or not) they pay, and then can plan with, maybe, less wiggle room.

Finally, another fatal mistake some writers make is to plan on royalties. You never, ever put royalties into your budget, because you'll never be able to guesstimate how much will be coming in. I've had royalty periods where a few hundred bucks came in; now it tends to be tens of thousands twice each year.

But that money is never in the budget. Never.

Kujai
09-14-2008, 02:44 AM
CheshireCat, you seem to be very knowledgeable and I thank you for your input and the insight you have provided of your personal experience. That offers a counter balance to the few claims that suggest that making a living off writing novels is not possible. You seem to be an optimist and that is greatly appreciated. You get a :banana:

What many need to understand is that it is possible to earn a living writing, but like any other job it takes time, effort, and planning as it is indeed a career. If you put work into it you will likely get a return. If you have an interesting idea, plot and story, you have access to more contracts. If your writing improves, you earn higher advances due to an increase in potential success. If you take the marketing of your writing, novel in this case, seriously, you have the ability to reach a greater audience which will most likely raise your book sales and the monetary value of your royalty checks.

But as with any job, success will have to depend on performance. And as such daily sacrifices must be made until one reaches an acceptable range of performance. Sacrifices may include attending writing groups, attending writing classes, writing practice stories, numerous revisions, build up monetary savings that you can live off of if you need to take additional time off your day job in order to allocate more of your schedule to writing. As per these examples, the main sacrifice is time. If you are willing to put time into writing and put aside that devilish desire of procrastination, I do believe that good things will happen. If not, at least you tried pursuing a dream you had. No harm in that. :Thumbs:

If you have a unique idea, story, writing ability, and at times a bag of luck stashed away, I do believe that one can make a living in this particular trade if they take it seriously and are willing to put in the time and effort to reach financial success. With time comes greater skill, with greater skill comes better performance, and with better performance comes promotion, a promotion in life and trade.

I know that writing a novel is a hefty task and that most do not make the leap into publication, but I always ask myself why that is the case. Do they lack talent? Do they lack skill? Do they lack motivation? I found that these three questions are irrelevant because, as stated before, if one is willing to put time into their work/trade they can reach success.

As CheshireCat noted, pay at first is not that great. This is unless you have exceptional skill, talent, connections, and are in the right place at the right time. But not everyone is lucky and I understand that, so quitting a day job to pursue writing is not exactly sound advice as it takes much time to reach the point where your novel hits the road. It can take years from the time you plot out an idea, write your chapters, complete the rough draft, revise and edit the draft, send out the manuscript to beta readers, receive feedback from the beta readers, make appropriate adjustments, send the manuscript back to the beta readers, make adjustments, write a query letter, research potential agents, send out queries to agents, receive rejections, revise query letters, send revised queries, receive requests for partials, receive rejections, revise partials, send partials, receive requests for the full manuscript, receive rejections, revise full manuscript, send out the full manuscript to the interested agents, get representation from an interested agent, agent then sends the full manuscript to several publishers, receive rejections, make adjustments to the manuscript per the request of a publisher, the full manuscript is accepted, contract is drafted with a publisher, royalties and advance are discussed, advance is paid off to you, novel is then scheduled for publication, novel is marketed, reviews of the novel are made, and finally the novel is published and sold after the appropriated street date.

I know that I must have left out a few steps, but I illustrated the process to show the vast amount of work and time needed to get a single novel published. From an idea to the book being sold could be anywhere from two to five years, and that is for a single novel. I give this range because it depends on a person's skill, effort, and the amount of time they are willing to dedicate to their writing. If all you do is write, then you may get published sooner and receive the monetary benefits of writing sooner. Because many lack an extensive resume, a legion of successful and critically acclaimed books, when they enter a writing career, a day job, an actual job, is needed as one pursues a writing career as money on hand is essential in order to pay for current living expenses.

As for me, I worked hard. I attended college full time and maintained a full time job during that time, working around 32-36 hours a week while I took five classes a semester. I received scholarships, received a decent wage from my job, and excelled in my classes. I spent a minimal amount of my earnings for entertainment, but much of it was saved for what I had planned. I recently graduated, retired from my job :Clap:, and I have dedicated the past eight months to writing. I have provided my self with a two and a half year window in which I would be able to write and live in acceptable conditions. If my novel does not get published, and I find out that my writing style, story telling abilities and skills are in fact abysmal and are not acceptable to agents and publishers, I have a fall back path/career in life.

I earned and allocated time and money for my writing. If my writing does not pay off or if I am unable to be successful, then I can say at least say that I pursued a dream and gave it my all.

To answer your question Darzian, so far I have made no money as a writer. I expected that and I am currently on schedule. I will in fact lose two years worth of potential earnings from my fall back career if I am not successful. Depending on where I would have received a position the monetary value lost could be anywhere from $120,000 to $240,000. I take risks, but calculated risks. Is pursuing a dream and failing worth hundreds of thousands of dollars? Yes, as we only live once. Why have a life that you did not live?

:box:
Disclaimer: These are just random thoughts. I do not claim to have actual advice, just simple musings to raise the spirits of pessimists.

veinglory
09-14-2008, 02:50 AM
If you want some random specifics I make $5000 a year (maybe closer to $10,000 this year) from writing as a hobby (a few hundred words a day, max) and epublishing the results. On that basis I suspect I could make some kind of living at it if that was my goal, but I wouldn't by writing at the rate I enjoy and would loss the stability, benefits and other perks of being salaried--including my US work visa.

Darzian
09-14-2008, 07:49 AM
CheshireCat, you seem to be very knowledgeable and It can take years from the time you plot out an idea, write you chapters, complete the rough draft, revise and edit the draft, send out the manuscript to beta readers, receive feedback from the beta readers, make appropriate adjustments, send the manuscript back to the beta readers, make adjustments, write a query letter, research potential agents, send out queries to agents, receive rejections, revise query letters, send revised queries, receive requests for partials, receive rejections, revise partials, send partials, receive requests for the full manuscript, receive rejections, revise full manuscript, send out the full manuscript to the interested agents, get representation from an interested agent, agent then sends the full manuscript to several publishers, receive rejections, make adjustments to the manuscript per the request of a publisher, the full manuscript is accepted, contract is drafted with a publisher, royalties and advance are discussed, advance is paid off to you, novel is then scheduled for publication, novel is marketed, reviews of the novel are made, and finally the novel is published and sold after the appropriated street date.



I was always aware of this but to see it compiled like this..........oh well must keep up my hopes. My novel shall find a place in some dusty bookstore someday.

Kujai
09-14-2008, 11:43 AM
I was always aware of this but to see it compiled like this..........oh well must keep up my hopes. My novel shall find a place in some dusty bookstore someday.

That 'someday' depends entirely on you Darzian. I do believe that you have the proper motivation, as you would not be here on AW. All you need is encouragement. Publishing a book follows a lengthy process, one that I expansively described in my previous reply. It is all simply a matter of time management. If you truly desire to become a writer, allocate the appropriate time to your novel whenever possible. Also, may I suggest that you take a few literature/writing courses in your upcoming college semesters as some of your free-electives. I recommend that you do this to find out whether or not writing is something that you can see yourself doing as a career. These courses will not only increase your knowledge, but your writing skill as well.

Knowledge: +88 EXP
Writing Skill: +96 EXP

You just need to plan ahead. Take time and contemplate what it is that you desire in life. Do you want to pursue a full-time writing career, part-time writing career, or do you simply want to publish that single Fantasy novel of yours and be done with it?

:guns:

But take your time Darzian, as it would be unwise to take a miscalculated risk and end up being the prime suspect in the dual homicide of two shattered years in your life. We all have time and the game of life is to decide what we will do with such time.

Darzian
09-14-2008, 12:27 PM
Thanks for the advice!

My primary goal in life is to graduate with an MD degree. I want that, my family wants that and I'm going to get there one way or another, despite the 8 years of undergraduate and postgrad life ahead of my and all the financial issues involved. I might also add that I'm having some immigration difficulties (the Canadian Embassy in Sri Lanka has no heart at all).

Writing will likely not become my chief occupation but its something I like to do. MY current WIP (my first) took me 9 months to plan. Now that I'm writing it, very little is actually going according to my extensive planning. The funny part is, I like it this way. I found myself typing something yesterday at 15 000 words which I actually intended to put in somewhere around 50 000 words!

I hope this will be a duology. I'm making the first book seem as stand alone as possible as many people on AW advised in other threads. Writing will play a great part in my life.

Due to the huge amount of time I take to think up an idea, the process of completing the WIP takes forever. The actual writing part is somewhat fast but the thinking part takes forever so I will likely take another YEAR to think of another idea for another story. (The prob is that I like epic fantasy and there is so much out there that it takes me a lot of time to think of something that is at least remotely different and somewhat new)

So, yes I am serious about writing. I will begin my college career in Feb 2009 (BSc Biotechnology) and then hopefully move onto medicine. I'm determined to complete my WIP before December because I need to work hard at college to upgrade my scholarship which is currently 50% to 100%. They want an average of more than 90 for that which I hope to reach.

Thanks for the advice. I was truly curious about the actual payment that writers receive. Since I'm in Sri Lanka and I intend to query agents in the US (that alone reduced my chances somewhat), I will need quite a bit of cash for postage for full MS (if any request it!).

Let's all hope for the best, and thanks for the replies and encouragement.

Troo
09-15-2008, 09:54 PM
Also, Darzian, you'd be amazed how much tech authors with a BSc in BioTech can make!

Darzian
09-16-2008, 07:28 AM
Also, Darzian, you'd be amazed how much tech authors with a BSc in BioTech can make!

Forgive me, but what do you mean by tech author? Never heard the term before.

And thanks for the encouragement!

C.bronco
09-16-2008, 07:29 AM
At this point, I'm at a negative balance.
:D
Yet, oddly, I'm happy with that right now.

Deccydiva
09-16-2008, 01:50 PM
Well I don't have the option of a day job, as I lost mine 16 months ago and have been unable to find anything since. Still, it gives me plenty of time to write ... if I do make anything it will be deducted from my Welfare income so unless I make more than that, it will not change my lifestyle!:D

Troo
09-16-2008, 06:09 PM
Forgive me, but what do you mean by tech author? Never heard the term before.

And thanks for the encouragement!

People who write documentation for stuff, be it computers, mass spectrometers, or cameras.

Few people have both engaging writing skills and high-level understanding of a particular science, so if you do the BioTech and can write non-fiction in a way that doesn't make a reader lapse into a coma, you're onto a winner job-wise. And a paying job's always a good stopgap until the money from the novels starts pouring in :)

Darzian
09-16-2008, 06:21 PM
People who write documentation for stuff, be it computers, mass spectrometers, or cameras.

Few people have both engaging writing skills and high-level understanding of a particular science, so if you do the BioTech and can write non-fiction in a way that doesn't make a reader lapse into a coma, you're onto a winner job-wise. And a paying job's always a good stopgap until the money from the novels starts pouring in :)

Ah ok thanks! I hadn't considered non fiction, but will hopefully do so in the future! I'm putting all my hopes on my current WIP

Edit:
I'm going to come back to this thread one day and post my own experience when my WIP is sold. (Yes I am saying WHEN and not IF- a positive attitude really helps and I'm going to try the Universal Law of Attraction). For more on this Law, you may visit:

http://www.som.org/2laws/universallaws/attraction.htm

(this is not a joke btw)

Troo
09-17-2008, 01:43 PM
Damn right it's not a joke. A positive mental attitude really does attract success :)

The Lonely One
09-18-2008, 12:57 AM
I'm working two jobs right now; staff writer at a daily and lottery-player.

Just waiting for the second one to get me a promotion.

Lottery-winner, now that's the ticket.

A lot of time to write and drive a hot British sports car, to be sure.

Spiny Norman
09-19-2008, 12:42 AM
I honestly think the majority of it depends on luck.

Hard work, sure, but also luck.

But then, so does everything.